You might have grown up in the country if...

There are many things that I loved, liked, hated and laughed at when I lived in the country. We moved off the ranch when I was 14, but I still write and visit the people who watched me grow up and kept me from killing myself on haystacks, horses,...

There are many things that I loved, liked, hated and laughed at when I lived in the country. We moved off the ranch when I was 14, but I still write and visit the people who watched me grow up and kept me from killing myself on haystacks, horses, double-dog-dares and by various crazy cows -- which seemed to be my lot in life.

Thinking about how different my life was then as to when we moved is what inspired my last column about "you might be from a small, rural town if." Here is the last installment of that column.

You might have grown up in the country if:

You ever underestimated the protective tendencies of mamma cows and their calves -- and if you did, you never did it again.

All your fractures and broken bones can be blamed on livestock or gopher holes.


You ever spent more time picking the hay, sandburs and weeds out of your clothes than you actually spent playing in the haystack.

You know what a Rocky Mountain oyster is because you've watched them be cleaned, then fried -- and then you ate them for breakfast.

You once told your city cousin that Rocky Mountain oysters were sausage -- then once he ate a handful you stepped back out of spitting distance and told him the truth. And then you laughed. A lot.

You have an hour commute and it's not because of traffic.

When something in town needs fixed, it becomes a community project.

When ominous weather approaches, lawn furniture goes inside and people come out.

You have consumed some sort of animal without knowing whether it crawled, flew or swam before it met its doom.

You never worried that your dog would outgrow the yard.


You know the difference between haystacks and hay bales -- and you care.

You feel that if a tornado takes out a structure or town it deserves a name.

You make plans based on the condition of Uncle Ole's knee: throbbing equals indoor activities; pain-free means clear skies.

You watch the roads carefully at night, not for cars, but for unsuspecting deer and cows.

You've killed more deer with your '76 Ford than your .30-.06.

You feel a little guilty running over a bullsnake because they eat the rattlesnakes.

You brake for turtles. Then you get out and turtleknap them for the county fair's turtle race.

You get all the news you need to know from Paul Harvey.


You listen to Car Talk for the laughs.

You accepted a dare that you knew was going to land you in the hospital.

You spent three day's worth of recesses digging a hole to China in the school yard before your big brother finally told you the truth.

You played "Red Rover" on a gravel road.

The school key was left in the mail box for the UPS man.

You've ever had a fresh cow pie thrown in your face.

You ever intentionally threw your egg too hard during the "egg toss" at the county fair -- because your partner was your sister.

You've taken part in mutton busting, the calf scramble, hyde race, turtle race, goat tying and ribbon roping -- or at least know all the rules to said events.

You know how to style and tease a 4-H steer's tail.

There's more fun and anticipation to all community functions because everyone gets involved.

You built your own tree house -- by dismantling your brother's.

You knew what a monkey wrench was, what it was used for and where it was kept -- even though you were too young to reach it.

Your plans to run away were foiled when you asked your mom to pack you a lunch.

You took the foreign exchange students snipe hunting and cow tipping.

The closest "store" was a half an hour away; movie theater, doctor's office and "big" grocery store about an hour; and the closest mall was two hours away.

You knew people who thought that if a girl holds hands with a guy Wednesday night and goes on a date with a different guy Saturday night then she was considered "the promiscuous type."

You can predict rain simply by stepping outside and taking a deep breath.

You have seen the birth of puppies, kittens and cows and your only qualm was whether you were going to get to name them.

You know how hard it is to milk a cow.

You have cats and you have "barn cats."

Family reunions coincide with the annual school reunion or branding.

The City Park and courthouse are still located directly in the center of town.

The school library is larger than the city library.

Nobody's used the tennis courts for actual tennis since the courts were first paved -- which pretty much explains why.

Your livestock lives in a larger home than you do.

The only people to offer your kids a ride home are either neighbors or relatives.

You've been to a tractor pull, and dang it, you enjoyed yourself.

You know the difference between a farmer and a rancher -- and you care.

You met your future husband at a rodeo.

You met your divorce lawyer at a rodeo.

Your divorce lawyer and husband are roping partners.

No child's ever seen an ice cream truck, but their eyes beam when the Schwan's man drives by.

Everyone knows who's dating whom and why they broke up -- generally before the couple knows.

No one runs your dog over and leaves him there.

Families stick together -- if one member of the clan is wronged then God help the offender.

You know the difference between a cowboy and a c'boy, and you just shake your head at the latter.

Gossip at the local café or feed store provides you with all your county news.

You know the men in your town are just as guilty in gossip as the women -- they're just more covert about it.

All your pets got proper funerals, flowers and all. Heck, any dead critter or splat you found got a proper funeral.

At Halloween, you dressed up as a member of PETA and sprayed pink silly string on your carnivorous friends.

You can hum the jingle to Swap Shop.

You know the pain of a frozen cow pie under a plastic sled.

And the number one reason? You're smiling right now because you know 20 more ways to distinguish a rural-liver from a city-dweller, but are too embarrassed to share.

But, if you want to, write to me.

published May 17, 2007

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